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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Skeptics and Believers: Examining the Role of Extroversion and Skepticism in Paranormal Beliefs


Prior research has identified inconsistencies in relations between extroversion and paranormal beliefs, particularly in the context of a direct association between skepticism and paranormal beliefs. Thus, the current study investigates the role of skepticism and extroversion on the paranormal beliefs of individuals. Participants were 384 students from an accredited postsecondary minority institution enrolled in a Skepticism and Pseudoscience Psychology class. All participants completed a set of online questionnaires that examined their personality traits (i.e., extroversion and neuroticism), skepticism, and paranormal beliefs. A 2x2 analysis of variance indicated that extroverted individuals exhibited greater belief in the paranormal than their less extroverted counterparts. No association was found between skepticism and paranormal beliefs. However, for less extroverted individuals, belief in the paranormal was higher for those with high skepticism relative to those with low skepticism. The limitations and implications of these findings are discussed.

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